Fathers of the Church

Letter I. to an Unknown Correspondent

Description

Theodoret’s letters are a mine of information for the history of the fifth century, of the author’s life and of the history of dogma in general. This large correspondence is distinguished for its unpretentious learning, felicitous diction and perfect grace of style. (Quasten) Here he requests his correspondent’s opinion of his “book on the divine Apostle” (perhaps his commentary on St. Paul’s Epistles?).

Provenance

Theodoret of Cyrus (c. 393-466), the wise and zealous bishop of Cyrus, a small town near Antioch, was the last great theologian of the school of Antioch. Although he first considered Alexandrian Christology dangerous, and refused to condemn Nestorius until the Council of Chalcedon, his commitment to the correct doctrine of the Incarnation should not be questioned. As late as the 14th century more than 500 of his letters were extant, of which we still have 232.

by Theodoret in Unknown | translated by Blomfield Jackson

In the words of the prophet we find the wise hearer mentioned with the excellent councillor. I, however, send the book I have written on the divine Apostle, not as much to a wise hearer as to a just and clever judge. When goldsmiths wish to find out if their gold is refined and unalloyed, they apply it to the touchstone; and just so I sent my book to your reverence, for I wish to know whether it is what it should be, or needs some fining down. You have read it and returned it, but have said nothing to me on this point. Your silence leads me to conjecture that the judge has given sentence of condemnation, but is unwilling to hurt my feelings by telling me so. Pray dismiss any such idea, and do not hesitate to tell me your opinion about the book.

Taken from "The Early Church Fathers and Other Works" originally published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. in English in Edinburgh, Scotland, beginning in 1867. (NPNF II/III, Schaff and Wace). The digital version is by The Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.